How are WEM and MMS different from Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Wireless Expense Management (WEM) and Managed Mobility Services (MMS) differ greatly from Mobile Device Management (MDM), although some overlap can occur. This page explains how and why.

What Is Wireless Expense Management (WEM)?

Like its older sibling TEM, or Telecom Expense Management, Wireless Expense Management or WEM focuses on streamlining, correcting, and recovering costs, albeit for mobile, rather than landline, services. The most effective WEM initiatives tend to be administered through vendors, although some organizations use software and processes they have created.

A comprehensive WEM program will do much more than focus on expenses, however – and that will change what it is called.

Introducing Managed Mobility Services (MMS)

Holistic mobility management, when provisioned by an outside expert acting as part of the enterprise’s IT team, is called MMS, or Managed Mobility Services. In addition to WEM activities, MMS will also include:

  • Sourcing, procurement and device end-of-life assistance
  • Auditing, optimization, and inventory management
  • Identification of the most advantageous carrier plans and contracts for employee smartphones, tablets, and even laptops and mobile point-of-sale gadgets
  • Policies and controls for access to files and folders, for roaming while traveling, for regulation compliance, and more
  • Monitoring for roaming expenses or plan overages, and notifying administrators to make adjustments
  • Security measures
  • Non-escrow advance bill pay
  • In-depth reporting and alerts
  • Mobile device management (MDM)

An MMS initiative works with “Bring Your Own Device,” corporate-liable and hybrid mobility approaches.

Different MMS vendors deliver their platforms in different ways. Some only offer software as a service (SaaS) that the client oversees (for the most part, on-premise-only software is a thing of the past, but it is not unheard of, especially among organizations with mobility management initiatives dating back many years). Others provide SaaS and co-manage it with the customer. Finally, others act as the client’s wireless management department, handling all activities, from beginning to end, while ensuring the customer has complete visibility.

Wait, What About Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

what is MDM image

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is just one piece of the larger MMS puzzle – and a crucial piece at that. Some immediately recognizable MDM vendors include Samsung Knox Manage, AirWatch, MobileIron, Citrix, MaaS360 and Good Technology, among others. In some cases, organizations buy one (or more) of these platforms and manage it alongside their MMS software and processes. They may look to the MDM vendor for help desk support or occasional consulting. In other cases, a vendor – typically a managed service provider – fully deploys, manages, and monitors MDM on the customer’s behalf, in tandem with MMS.

Either way, the use case for MDM remains the same, including:

  • To install or update applications over the air on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices;
  • To turn connectivity to a specific device on or off as employees onboard or leave;
  • To assign authorized device, file, and folder accesses and detect intrusions;
  • To secure devices, including detecting and preventing signing on to hazardous Wi-Fi connections, and ensuring remote-wipe capabilities in the event of theft or loss; and more.


Do I Have to Do WEM, MDM and Overall Mobility Management on My Own?

The short answer? No. In fact, organizations with limited time, money, and staff will want to consider fully outsourcing mobile expense, mobile device management, and other activities. Doing so will free employees to focus on strategic projects rather than time-consuming, often mundane, tasks.

Relying on an outside expert further provides assurances that the mobility management initiative benefits from the latest technologies, knowledge, and security precautions. An organization’s internal experts might not always have the time to keep up with trends and changes.

Some ROI Insight


Finally, when working with the right mobility management vendor, the organization will generate return on investment, potentially to significant levels. Consider the case of a 22-state grocery chain. The IT department opted for One Source’s WEM+ service, which includes expense management, advance bill payment, usage optimization, and cost recovery, with order fulfillment for its fleet of several hundred mobile devices. The chain already had gleaned triple-digit returns with a similar One Source program for its wireline assets. Over a 51-month period, the client reported remarkable results from WEM+:

  • Hard savings: 313% of aggregate ROI after One Source fees
  • Soft savings: 774 hours, or half a full-time equivalent annually from orders, validations, optimizations, troubleshooting, and bill disputes

Such outcomes are common. With the proper, skilled resources in place, an organization will maximize its mobile environment, to the benefit of the whole business. The basics of mobility management do not change. Yet the practice can require such intricate attention that sharing responsibility with, or handing it over entirely to, an MMS provider makes, as the above example shows, financial and logical sense.

One Source’s Managed Mobility Services Solution Overview